Preserving Regional Heritage in Southwest Florida

Archaeology has changed since the 1980s, public outreach and archaeology in the sunshine have expanded to community-based and collaborative approaches; I joined in the trend, first with a self-styled Public Archaeology in Sarasota; the invitation to join Looking for Angola fundamentally shifted my scholarship leading to the creation of the New College Public Archaeology Lab. Descriptions of those programs are below; publications related to those projects can be found on my CV (see side bar) and at

Public Archaeology in Sarasota

Influenced by public archaeology programs around the USA, from 1997 to 2003 I organized a series of small scale projects around Sarasota County in partnership with the Sarasota County Archaeologist. There were pedagogical goals to the endeavor: to offer New College students experiential knowledge in archaeology and historic preservation, to offer service learning opportunities, and to build an archaeology focused on a civic engagement. The projects include the Paleo-Indian and Archaic period site of Little Salt Spring, the late 19th to early 20th century Rosemary Cemetery, and the early 20th century Venice Train Depot. The endeavor contributed to a National Registry of Historic Places nomination, helped with two museum exhibits at the Sarasota County History Center (2001 and 2006), trained several generations of New College students, and volunteered numerous public presentations and lectures as well as support for other archaeologists involved in public archaeology in the region.

Looking for Angola

LFA Logo

In 2004, I joined a team of scholars looking for an early 19th century maroon community on the Manatee River. The community is known today as Angola. My involvement includes supervision of the archaeological research which revolves around methodological challenges of locating a maroon community, public archaeology, raising questions for the archaeological and representational aspects of the work, and outreach to a broad audience to encourage local and descendant communities to join in the search.
See Looking for Angola tab for more information

Traces of Our Past
In 2006, a community-based endeavor began the search for the hidden histories of the Manatee River communities. These histories include stories of pre-Columbian Native Americans and Seminoles, Spanish explorers and Cuban fishermen, free Blacks and enslaved Africans, and Anglo-American men, women, and children. Those hidden histories expand the search for the recent beyond the goals of Looking for Angola. The link to Traces of Our Past can be found on our partner's website Reflections of Manatee, Inc

Traces of Our Past is also the title for a NCPAL-Time Sifters Archaeological Society Lecture series, 2009-13.

New College Public Archaeology Lab

NCPAL logo

Opened in 2010, the New College Public Archaeology Lab encompasses the strands developed by Public Archaeology in Sarasota and Traces of Our Past via the dynamics of community-based public anthropology. Information on NCPAL is available at the college website, which includes the annual newsletters (on the right side of the page, as pdfs) and by "liking" its facebook page NCPAL is dedicated to preserving regional heritage through archaeological excavations and interpretations, historic preservation, and educational outreach and community engagement.

Community Heritage Awareness and Management Program (CHAMP)

CHAMP is a partnership, started in 2014, between NCPAL and Sarasota County Historic Resources. The first project for CHAMP is heritage interpretation at Phillippi Estate Park. The park includes an Archaic period lithic scatter, a Manasota midden, a 1916 mansion along with connections to the 19th century Cuban fishing industry and important events associated with the Seminole Wars.